“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29, esv).
The Bible says, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2), as if to say that if you’d only been praying for what you need, you’d already have it by now.
But has that been your experience? Is it really true?
Depends on what you’re asking for.
You may be asking God for lots of stuff and not seeing answers, but if you’ll ask Him for the right stuff, your prayers would be answered so fast and fully that you’d wonder why you didn’t start praying this way years ago.
What kind of stuff? Well, I could pull any number of examples from Scripture, but let’s go with this one: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Do you ever feel that way? Weary? Weighted down? Burdened under the heavy loads of life? It’s horrible. Debilitating. Yet I can categorically assure you, based on the authority of God’s Word, that if you’ll get alone with Him, kneel down before Him, seek His face, and consistently ask Him to fulfill the promise of this verse in your life, He will give you relief from your many cares, and your spirit will be refreshed.
I guarantee it.
But it means asking for rest the way Jesus said to ask for it: “Take my yoke upon you . . .” The yoke, you probably know, was a harness that fit around the neck of an ox as a farmer was plowing his field. The interior of the yoke contained a series of barbs or spikes, so that if the ox felt any inclination to go in a different direction than where the farmer was leading, a stab of pain would indicate the foolishness of that choice. The ox could only go straight ahead.
Are you willing to wear that yoke? The yoke of Jesus? During His life on earth, Jesus demonstrated what His yoke entailed: no pride, no self-importance, no expectation of others, no disappointment when people failed Him. He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7, kjv). His life was one of complete and total selflessness.
And if you’ll prayerfully get inside that yoke with Him, where He says you can “learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,” you’ll be given “rest” for your soul. You’ll feel the heavy burdens lifting off you. You will have what you ask for, because you aren’t just asking for peripheral, pointless, selfish stuff. You’re asking for the right stuff, the good stuff, the deeper stuff that takes you to the end of yourself and to the edge of something greater.
Prayer is not only the process of getting something from God. Prayer is the process of getting to the place where you’re asking for the will of God, and you’re asking it for the right reasons. Prayer is the process of becoming spiritually fit to receive what God is already willing to do . . . like giving you rest, comforting you in your labors, and enabling you to live for Him alone, as His own Son did.
But how many people are actually willing to pray for that?
You’ll see your prayers answered if you do.
Lord, thank You for caring about the weighty concerns and pressures I’m carrying right now. And thank You for Your Word and Your promise, that tells me Your desire is to carry my burdens for me, to give me the rest that comes from a selfless heart. Help me live with a truly Christ-centered perspective. Help me walk with a confident trust in Your ability to keep me upright, empowered, and able to serve You. I come today, surrendered to this yoke, and expecting the freedom You’ve promised me, in the name of Jesus, amen.